By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
For the first time in NASCAR history, two international series will exchange drivers for one race in each other’s championship this season, NASCAR announced on Saturday morning. The exchange will occur at the Grand Prix de Trois- Rivières (GP3R) in August and at the Euro Whelen season finale at Zolder in Belgium in October.
“This exciting idea creates an opportunity to showcase two major initiatives that were implemented in 2017: Spectra Premium’s commitment as a manufacturer and sponsor of motorsports, and its recent launch into the European market,” said Jason Best, Senior Vice-President, Aftermarket, Spectra Premium Industries.
Spectra Premium Industries Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada. Spectra PremiumTM is a team of more than 1,300 dedicated employees specialized in automotive cooling systems design, manufacturing and distribution, as well as fuel delivery, ignition and engine management, climate control and under car components.
“Earlier this year, we reached new milestones in the development of a competitive high-performance radiator that helps in bringing teams to victory lane, and now we are turning to this driver exchange program to bolster our visibility in Europe,” said Best.
The first driver exchange between the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and the NASCAR Pinty’s Series will be determined after this weekend’s Oval World Challenge in Tours (France). The European driver who will race at the GP3R will be determined by the final Euro Whelen Series standings.
The Dumoulin Competition race team will welcome the 2018 Champion of the Euro Whelen Series Elite 1 Championship and the driver will pilot a Spectra PremiumTM team car on the famous Canadian GP3R street course on August 12th.
“Among the goals we set with for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, providing this kind of opportunity for our drivers is a very important one, so I am particularly happy to see our points leader cross the Atlantic to race at Trois-Rivières. It reinforces the great relationship between NASCAR Series at an international level and gives our drivers one more chance to shine. Adding this fantastic opportunity in Canada to the races in the US, we add important recognition to our Championship and Trophy winners. This development confirms that the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is definitely one of the most attractive championships in Europe for every kind of driver,” said Jerome Galpin, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President / CEO.
The second driver exchange will occur on October 20th in the final Euro Whelen series Elite 1 event of 2018 at Zolder, the spectacular Belgian track. Canadian driver and Spectra PremiumTM Ambassador Jean-Francois Dumoulin will compete. The 39-year-old driver has five career Pinty’s Series victories and 40 top-five results in 86 starts.
“We started discussing the possibilities of this exchange project five years ago, always looking for realistic ways to make it happen. I thought it was a great idea and really wanted to be part of it. As Ambassador for Spectra PremiumTM, building relationships that would help us move successfully into the European markets was always at the forefront of my thinking. As a driver, hosting the Elite 1 Champion of the Euro Whelen Series at the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix is an honour for our team as well as for Spectra PremiumTM. We all feel the same way about our visit to Zolder, the famous Belgian track, for the Euro Cup final, a major event for all concerned. This marks a notable first for both NASCAR Pinty’s and Euro Whelen Series, and the start of a sound business venture for Spectra PremiumTM,” explained the driver of the #04 Spectra PremiumTM car.